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Resume Writing: How to Incorporate Military Experience

by | Jan 15, 2013 | Resume Writing | 1 comment

Grammar Chic Resume Writing with Military Experience Blog

In recent years, the United States of America has faced the turmoil of being engaged in two different wars.  While the war in Iraq has ended and there are still countless military servicemen and women engaged in conflict in Afghanistan, it is also true that many veterans have returned home only to realize that domestic economic issues have made the job market much more competitive and complex since they left to serve our country.

These courageous individuals have given their time, dedication and sometimes even their blood during their service and are now faced with trying to navigate a new and unfamiliar job market while showcasing their military experience and skills as they return to civilian life.  Of course, the corporate world and the military world are vastly different and this alone can add significant stress to the life of any job seeking veteran. However, it doesn’t have to!  Follow these tips if you are looking to bridge the gap from your military life to your civilian one on your resume.  By engaging in a little bit of resume writing strategy, you can make the two worlds speak the same language.

Resume Writing Tips for Veterans

So, the first thing that any new job seeking vet must understand is that the world of resume writing has changed significantly since you were first deployed.  Many of these changes have come about because of the technology that has been introduced in the corporate recruiting world.  For instance, recruiters commonly use scanners and other keyword seeking programs to sift through resumes and identify the most attractive candidates based upon the job description they are looking to fill.  This has largely been employed because of the sheer amount of job seekers out there.  Therefore, it is imperative that your resume has a couple key features, including a summary of qualifications and a list of core competencies.  Moreover, you must also make sure that these segments are focused on the words and phrases recruiters are searching for via their new technological platforms.

What, Exactly, Is a Summary of Qualifications?

Ultimately, a summary of qualifications is a paragraph consisting of approximately four to six sentences that allow you to introduce yourself as a professional to a potential employer, as well as the high-level skills that you have to offer.  This is the area where you are able to present the transferable skills that you have acquired in your past professional life, including your military service, and deliver how these skills could possibly benefit a company.

Now, there is the obvious disconnect over how to examine your military experience, translate it to corporate speak and outline it in the summary of qualifications.  In order to determine this, ask yourself these questions:

  • What specific missions did I work on while in the military?
  • What job skills were required while I was working on an assignment or mission?
  • What was I responsible for while on that mission?
  • What was the outcome of the mission and what did I contribute to the end result?
  • Was I commended for my role in the assignment or mission?

Considering these details, now analyze how these specific areas translate to a position in the corporate world.  For instance, a veteran who was responsible for the leadership and execution of a humanitarian mission in Iraq would be able to pull the following keyword-specific skills out of their duties:

  • Project Management
  • Team Building
  • Leadership and Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication Ability
  • Resource Management
  • Strategy Implementation

All of these skills are relevant to the corporate world and are easy to understand from the perspective of a corporate recruiter.

Now, consider those keyword-specific job duties and think about how those items would actually translate when laid out as an achievement or accomplishment as they relate to discussing outcomes and results of that specific humanitarian assignment:

  • Effectively engaged in clear communication and led a team of military professionals in the successful resource management of $450K in supplies; delivered and implemented humanitarian efforts that addressed the needs and improved the lives of 500+ Iraqi civilians.

In this statement, you are showing the cause and the effect of your efforts.  Plus, you are giving a measurable number to the reader.  This is verbiage that a corporate recruiter can get behind!  When you are able to demonstrate the benefits of your military service and outline results-oriented accomplishments, a potential employer is able to better understand your past experience and what you could bring to a company.

Addressing Combat Situations on a Resume

There is a point of caution that I must address regarding speaking about past military experience on a resume, and that is the role of combat in war-time situations.  It’s true that military engagement provides a vast amount of experience to any individual, but at the same time, it must be said that some of this experience is related to actual combat.  It is very important, as you write your resume as a military veteran, to stay away from vivid or disturbing details as you consider your experience.  While it is true that many employers and individuals certainly admire your service, a resume is not the place to open a discussion about death, violence or other factors that are part and parcel of war.  Including these items could make a hiring manager uncomfortable or unsure about what your potential role could be at their organization.  Instead, focus on the experience you gained while in the military and how it could be directly applied to a job posting at a company.

Your military experience is not something that you should shy away from highlighting on your job search.  There are so many transferable skills that, when noted properly, can truly help your resume go from good to great.  If you are a veteran who is facing a job search and are unsure about what should be showcased on your resume, or if you need help writing this important document, the professional resume writers at Grammar Chic can be contacted by calling 803-831-7444 or visiting www.grammarchic.netGrammar Chic is proud to offer a military discount on all professional writing services to veterans of our armed forces as our way of showing our appreciation for all you have done for our country.